We eat a lot of soup in our household, and lately with the cool rainy weather it seems I’ve been making even more. I mentioned in a previous blog post a while back about the butternut squash growing in our garden, it’s been crazy, but that’s ok… butternut squash is one of my most favorite vegetables ever! Every time I make this soup I’m amazed at how delicious it is… it’s weird, it’s like I forget how good it is!
Full disclosure, this isn’t the soup to make when you’re short on time, it does take a lot of prep work so plan ahead, but it’s worth it I promise! One thing you can do, and I do this a lot when cooking, is you can prep all your ingredients earlier in the day. Dice up all the veggies and refrigerate, bake the croutons, and the bacon you can easily prepare in the oven while the soup is simmering. That should cut down the preparation time when you’re in a hurry.
I don’t know… sometimes I enjoy long prep and cooking sessions in the kitchen. I have couples-cook dates with Brian in the kitchen and it’s so fun, we crank up Frank Sinatra and open wine, I give him a few jobs to do while I’m working. But I also have my moments where I think ugh… I just want this over with.
The easiest way to get the proper amount of butternut squash is just to weigh one at the store and to try to get around 2 1/2 pounds, it’s not the end of the world if it’s a little over or under, or you can use a kitchen scale like I do. I have a few more tips on this recipe so read on and remember it’s worth it!
I use homemade broth…at least once a week in the fall and winter I have a big batch of broth going. It’s thrifty, healthy, and delicious! Using canned broth is fine too, but just be sure and adjust the salt to your taste.
For the croutons I tear up about half a loaf of french bread. I used to cube the bread but it’s quicker to tear it, and I prefer the rustic uneven texture. You’ll get crispy and chewy pieces and some crumbs… I love that!
The chipotle chili pepper is slightly confusing so let me clear that up. I use canned chipotle chili peppers in adobe sauce, it’s sold in most grocery stores. USE JUST ONE PEPPER FROM THE CAN. If you use the entire can you’ll hate me. Adding one chopped pepper gives the soup just a hint of heat, it won’t be too spicy hot I promise, and it adds a nice smokey depth to the soup. Save the chilis for another use or freeze them individually like I do.
Once the soup is done simmering I puree it with an immersion blender, it’s the safest easiest mess free way to blend the soup. However, if you don’t have one you can use a regular blender, it’s more labor intensive and you must let the soup cool and vent the lid or the steam will blow the blender top off… just get an immersion blender they’re awesome! Mine was $25 from Amazon and you can even find some lower priced ones.
I found small packages of smoked gouda at the grocery store over by the deli and I shred them myself using my salad shooter. We shred all our own cheese because it tastes so much better.
Apple & Butternut Squash Soup with Rosemary Croutons
Ingredients for the soup:
- 3 tbs butter
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 stalk of celery, chopped
- 4-5 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 6 cups chicken broth or stock
- 1 cup apple juice or cider
- 1 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, chopped -USE JUST 1 PEPPER!
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 6 oz smoked gouda, shredded
- 1 pkg bacon cooked and crumbled
Ingredients for the croutons:
- 4 cups cubed or torn french bread
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 3 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions for the soup:
- In a dutch oven melt butter over medium-high heat. Add butternut squash, onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently 10 minutes or until vegetables are slightly softened. Add apples, broth, cider, and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. While the soup is simmering prepare the croutons.
- Remove from heat and with an immersion blender blend until smooth. Ladle into bowls and top with rosemary croutons, bacon, and cheese.
Instructions for the croutons:
- Tear or cube 4 cups of french bread and place into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and mix well with your hands, sprinkle with rosemary, salt and mix again.
- Place the mixture on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 10 minutes.
Oh, this soup freezes well too, but if you’re like us you probably won’t have much leftover.
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